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Thomas Fleming Education. (2010) Thomas Fleming ('The Intimate Lives of the Founding Fathers').

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Washington 72, Us 16, Abigail Adams 8, France 8, Hamilton 7, Abigail 6, America 6, Virginia 6, Jefferson 5, John Adams 4, New York 4, Sally Fairfax 4, Honda 3, William Franklin 3, Vernon 3, Sally 3, Gilbert Stuart 3, Philadelphia 3, Boston 3, Benjamin Franklin 2,
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  CSPAN    Book TV After Words    Thomas Fleming  Education.  (2010) Thomas  
   Fleming ('The Intimate Lives of the Founding Fathers').  

    January 25, 2010
    12:00 - 1:30am EST  

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officers wives is what we will be for the owes of -- rest of our lives. the lives of four founding fathers. the intimate lives of our founding fathers. this book has just been push in the last couple of weeks. ...
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we are at a new level of writing about american history and history in general. we are all the products of bar association. those individuals who have made our history and consequently have reached a level of interest as a historical character for bucks must be researched and written about within the context of their life. their marriages, they are liaisons, all of their associations. they do not exist in any kind of a vacuum. you save your introduction, far from diminishing these men and women an examination of their intimate lives will enlarge them for our time. so let's get to the first question i have for you this evening. from your perspective, tom, but let us to the book that has now come out? >> guest: what got me going was this idea that i had written
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a great many books on the revolution, well over a dozen. and they were mostly concerned with the men and yet in my novels i have always taken a woman's point of view as often as possible. i've always been fascinated by how women react to events and to individuals involved in these events. and suddenly it hit me that maybe this could be done because now -- i couldn't of done this back in the 1960's when i first started writing books. now more and more of the papers of these women have become published. in the whole feminist movement has become a part of our bias. so it seemed like a very logical thing to do in many, many based on a possible thing to do. and then, barbara, i had this marvelous surprise. this book for me has been one surprise after another. and the biggest surprise was the opening. if i may say so, i think it's
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one of the best openings i've ever had for a history book. i've discovered, by sheer accident, as you often do when you're doing research that george washington wrote a letter to a woman named sally fairfax in 1759. she was the wife of his best friend, his good friend anyway's neighbor, george william fairfax. this letter suddenly was published in the new york herald, which was at that time in 1877 when it was published it was the biggest newspaper in america. and they've called it a washington love letter. and nobody could believe that it was real at first. and then people who know a little bit about washington's life and stuff, there were some very atchison diaries published. they discovered he had written it better for month after he had become engaged to moffit custis,
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who was in for the the richest widow in virginia. and this caused consternation in 1877. they couldn't believe that george washington could possibly have thought for another woman. and so, it was like a suspense story as a probe to find out what happened to this letter. and it turned out that the latter never saw the light of day. it was going to be auctioned off of the mystery man body and this appeared for 60 years. and they founded by sheer accident in the files of a harvard library. so when i saw all this, i said to myself, this is a book i was born to write. i've got to write this book. i've got to explain this and then i begin to realize there would be other things to discover about the other founding fathers. post goes as a result of all the research you've done over the years and all of the things that kept coming that you about the women's papers, which you
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couldn't have known about in 1960, when her first book came out. at this stage of your 50 year career. >> guest: it seemed to be a perfect picture by considering the fact i published a great many novels by now. so i have a reputation and a habit as a historian. i've got to get the facts. but i do have, in a book like this, inability to think intuitively at different points. >> host: writes, at this stage. well, talking about george washington, the father of our country, the iconic figure, the gilbert stuart image that were used to. tom and i both went to grammar school in jersey city and every schoolroom had a copy, a print of george washington on the wall. this was in every school in the jersey city. so this is a kind of inspiration. has been for me and ensure for you. but it turns out to be much more
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of a human character, don't you think? >> guest: washington wrote after his marriage to martha to the english merchants, richard washington, his name was that washington is now believed fixed up his seat, mount vernon, was an agreeable concert for life and hope you find more happiness in retirement than i ever experienced in a wide and bustling world. sounds like a pretty happy man to me. >> guest: yes, happy. but again, an agreeable consort. it doesn't suggest the grand passion or deep, deep love. this is a problem that washington not for the rest of his life. a lot of people thought that his marriage to martha was a marriage of convenience. she was the richest widow in virginia and she was looking for somebody to manage this magnificent estate that she inherited from a late husband. and washington of course is a
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man of affairs. he had been a colonel and commander of the troops and the french and indian war and he was just about perfect in every way and incidentally she was pursued by some of the richest men in virginia before she decided to marry washington. they were the same age. but the more you think about it, the more you watch what happens afterwards. you realize that there was a different attraction there. and here is the most surprising thing that i found was that after more than a decade of very happy married life, george washington was appointed commander-in-chief of the american army in 1775 and the first person he wrote a letter to, when he got this assignment, what's to martha appeared and the letter began, my dearest. >> host: and all of them did. >> guest: so then i went back and looked at martha papers.
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this is i think a pretty good tribute to each other and it's a sign that there was a very deep love between these two people. and the reason it's above it that martha washington is totally unappreciated. i said in the book and elsewhere that we think of her as somebody's grandmother. when she married washington, she was 27 years old. she was very short, about 5 feet even, but she had a wonderful figure. and also, she had a marvelous disposition. she was very self-possessed woman. and she could deal with man and charmed them when she wanted to. she had the southern charm. martha had it in abundance. and washington slowly realized that marrying her was the best thing ever done in his whole life. one of the reasons, you know, as
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you mentioned the mothers of these people are very interesting and there in the book, too. and of course, george's mother, mary washington, she was, says biggest key was, she was a really tall woman and had the most tremendous temper that you could possibly imagine. and her husband had died when george was 11 and she spends most of her time trying to get george to be a surrogate husband, substitute for him. in georgia so thrilled by the city try tried to join the british navy at the age of 14. >> host: to get away from her. >> guest: but then, intervening was a wonderful man. laura washington's half-brother was at that time the master of mount remained. and that was mutual miles away from very bold washington and lawrence realize there was time for this big tall teenager after mount vernon.
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and he was about 16 when he started coming there and that's where he met sally fairfax, this very flirtatious wife of the man who had the house down the road. and so, for a dozen years, sally flirted with him and tormented him and so forth. so after he married and became engaged to martha, she brought them a letter saying, you have to today campaign overseas can embrace mrs. custis. and it just treaded in this blazing letter because he was about to march into the wilderness to fight the french and the indians. and you thought there may be a bullet out there with his name on it and there really might be. so he just couldn't resist and broke his blazing four-page letter in which he simply said, do you love me as much as i love you? i just want to know that before and march off to maybe get shot.
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and it was letter that sally saved for the rest of her life. so she too had i think a rather strong attraction to this tall muscular man. her husband was a little wimpy shrimp i might add. >> host: martha also was not aware. george had a temper. he may have had his mother's temper. martha really wasn't aware of that. i think he did everything he could to avoid telling her that. and there's a great story when he sits down to have his portrait painted by gilbert stuart, the most famous portrait painter of the time. and gilbert fancied themselves and of an amateur psychologist and he mentioned about them holding back his temper. you might want to share that story it's a great story. >> guest: he did fancy himself as a graveside psychologist.
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he said i studied your features and you have the physiology of a man of violent passions. and in the same room at the time was martha washington. and she was knitting and listening. and she became offended and she said, you take a great deal upon herself, mr. stewart. in stuart set him and adam, madam, let me finish. let me say that the general has the bose passions on the perfect control. >> host: he really was a good psychologist then. >> guest: he got out of a tight spot on that one. but washington -- he looked to washington hoping to get a positive response a little smile when across washington state to be said, he's right. >> host: so you told us about the 1877 letter. what's also interesting about that is that nobody seemed to be interested in it. it sold for very little money. >> guest: so they say. i suspect that the probability
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was there was a very strong rumor that jpmorgan about the letter thinking he was doing something peachy addict, but we don't know something for sure. that's an interesting rumor. but the auctioneer sold for $13, which is really ridiculous. so it was a cover-up all the way. the man thought washington's reputation had been damaged by this letter. but when you get deeper into the whole story, of course, you find out that simply not the case. >> host: well, his reputation seems to change with history. he was an icon right after his death. with a democratic nation, particularly as jackson became president, washington was shown in the sometime apocryphal scene interiors of a family, after the centennial he was america's
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patriot. things had changed -- just go get a slightly sacred aura. there's no doubt about it in this time. the interesting thing in he really needed martha all this time. and people didn't realize this. he was up in boston the command of the american army when he wrote a letter saying would you consider coming up here to join me. now this was not an easy thing to ask of a woman. she's done a mount vernon. that's four or 500 miles up to boston. and the roads were so abominable in those days. and across the river, you had to get a carriage in your hearse had to go out on a flat boat in a couple guys pulled this across the river and it was a windy day and things were going that way in this way and people did drown. quite often. and yet, she said i'm coming and she went up to join him and she did this every year for the rest
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of this eight-year revolution. she journeyed up there every winter and she played a part, not merely as a wife, as someone to whom you can confide and he really did trust her and tell her things he didn't tell anybody else. but also she was a marvelous hostess. and washington is basically the leader of the country, we had a congress out there. the only guy that really mattered was washington and anybody who came to this country had dinner with them. and washington really needed this charming woman at that of his table to make the conversation flow freely. and she did that right straight to the revolution, when he was a general and again when he was president. >> host: very, very different situation than the case of benjamin franklin, who, i mean, these are really on opposite and washington and franklin. where we might question the story, whether washington was a
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ladies man and there's a lot in the book about that but i don't think we have a lot of time to go into but it was a lot of questioning about whether he fathered this one or that one. >> guest: can i just say, you know this of course, i have a chapter in a towel to sally fairfax story but i have a chapter called the other george washington scandals. there are so many of these. people wanted to believe these stories about washington right straight to the revolution and long after he was dead. >> host: but you don't find proof of this. >> guest: they don't stand up to historic foundation. it's amazing how many people believed it. papers in the midwest and 18th centuries were printing statements from people saying yes, he was really the father of thomas posey or with the neighbor of another -- son of another neighbor at malvern tenant so forth. thomas posey with six latino and it was a soldier in the
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revolution. argument from resemblance is the weakest argument. and so, it was interesting how that traveled with him. but we do want to get on, don't we. >> host: then it's hilarious. nothing short of hilarious. first of all, he marries deborah. deborah does not follow him anywhere. she doesn't go to england when he asked her to come. >> guest: she didn't even go to boston. >> host: and should a very sort temper. you can i must understand one aspect of this that she lost around son. his name was frankie and therefore took a dislike to benjamin franklin's illegitimate son, william, who had been born before they married. so she really -- but now, there's a lot to say about franklin's women. but in terms of his place as a founding father, where does he
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fit in? where does his -- >> guest: as i see it and other historians may not agree with it. he's second only to washington and really created the nation. even before the revolution give americans a sense of themselves as a people. but his achievements and france in late 1776, when he became the ambassador, without the aid that he procured from the french, the revolution would've collapsed within another year. there's no doubt about it because congress was just printing money. and hoping for the best coming in now, and pretty soon this money was worthless. they printed $200 million worth of paper money. and the price of a horse, which was $200 before the revolution, by the 1780's, the same horse cost $20,000. and so, you know, the revolution
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would've collapsed. but at the same time, i like washington, somewhat similar to washington in certain respects, but he had someone accusing him of being a plea boy why he was ambassador of france that washington never had and that was john adams, another founding father. >> host: extremely nasty about it. >> guest: he was convinced that franklin was having affairs with other women in paris just about and not until the violent letters to the continental congress saying his houses are sinking of dissipation and so forth and so forth. and franklin tried to calm everyone down and say look, and her soda like to kiss ladies, but the french ladies like to be kissed. it's that simple. he tried to assure everybody nothing to much was going on. but no to this day he is a very bad reputation about what happened in france. >> host: he was the alienable
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stage. i have to quote this from the book because it is so funny. he greeted each one of them, the frenchwomen, because there were frenchwomen surrounding him when he was in france during aid with a coquettish miss as tom puts it. occasionally, one not a format matter for mademoiselle asked if he cared for her more than the other pursuers. with a smile, franklin would reply, and is limping french. yes, when you're closest to me because of the power of attraction, which immediately reminded me when i was reading it it may have reminded you of this to have a very famous song in the 1948 -- 47 production of piteous rainbows which goes, my heart is beating wildly and it's all because you're here. when imac year, the girl i love, i love the girl i'm here. that's exactly what he was saying to her.
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>> guest: but franklin was also planing on his fame as a scientist because he had discovered the power of electricity and magnets and all that sort of thing so he was preparing himself to a magnet and the women being attracted to him and vice versa. so they thought this made it even more thrilling. >> host: he was quite a character. >> guest: we got to tell a story about what happened when jefferson came over to replace franklin as ambassador. the war had been won by this time and franklin had decided he had to go home. so they sent jefferson overpeer the jefferson riots in paris and goes out to franklin's house and there's franklin on the lawn and there's three or four beautiful frenchwomen around him kissing him and he's kissing them. and franklin come excuse me jefferson finally raises his head and says dr. franklin, dr. franklin, would it be possible to transfer these
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privileges to the new ambassador and franklin says, you are too young and man. now to me, that convinces me of what i was saying that really nothing was happening. he really didn't do much more than kiss these ladies. >> host: there was also no evidence in any other documentation that you found in terms of diaries that anyone else claimed to have been involved with them. >> guest: one of my best friends at the franklin papers and yell told me that she for 30 years read every diary, letter, newspaper strike on anything that said anything about franklin and france. she never found one line that suggested there was a serious liaison. >> host: so he was this alienable person escaping from a life who was kind of a peasant back home. he had in english, possibly a
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second wife. he lived in her house. he was very eccentric. he took what he called arafat's to sit around for an hour every morning to take these air baths. >> guest: she was his own doctor and he thought that was healthy. >> host: he decides within id. we own that she should become his confessor and he confesses all his sins to her. she then decides that she will give him absolution and only a few will tell her that he loves god, america and her, especially her. the chapter on franklin is nothing short of hilarious. >> guest: byplay between him and not embryo, his neighbor. a beautiful, beautiful woman and wonderful pianist. she called him a share pop rock.
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and there's a wonderful story about madame leon that shows a serious side of franklin. she discovered that her husband was having an affair with her governess and she rushed to find one to pour out her broken heart to him. now if anybody was ever ready to be seduced at that point, it was madame briel. and if suggesting seduction have been the name of the game, this is his opportunity. instead, he said he must learn to forgive your husband because revenging yourself against him only puts you on his level. and he persuaded her that this was a spiritual challenge that she had a need that for the kiss of her children and her marriage. it's a moving and touching scene that shows the side of franklin, too. he wasn't at all jumpy. he knew there were serious feelings between people.
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>> host: as you say, he was second only to washington as a founding father and there's a very serious side to him. this is the kind of release for him to get along with all of these ladies in england and france to relieve the tension on most of all the things he was doing. >> guest: that was part of it, but also he understood something that most people don't appreciate about the french at this time. he is french ladies he was dealing with were all upper-class and they were into politics. they had these solons with the best people came. so when he was charming them, he was also charming there has been. and their husbands had huge influence and that helped things go more smoothly and the alliance between america and france. so he was thinking politically as well as having a lot of fun. and only franklin could do that. >> host: only franklin. but there's another side to the founding fathers, which is
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almost heartbreaking really. and when you get into the story of john and abigail adams, i know that we've seen many weak relations of their lives, books, television stories, you have a very, very serious side to this in this book. a real heartbreaker. d. go, sam, the whole idea of fame does permeate the lives of all of the founding fathers in this book. >> guest: they were very aware that same was what they were earning by founding a country. and incidentally that's not the same as you saw in the book, barbara. it's not the same as celebrity. they couldn't imagine tiger woods, for instance, be insane. although he's a wonderful golfer, he deserves all of it. sam had to do with found in a country were defending them from
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invasion. really very serious and demanding efforts on the part of the man. and so, that was part the thing that troubled john adams. he too had a very bad inheritance from his mother. her problem was probably she was a manic depressive and weird shoes to go into these frenzies of house cleaning and then she just goes into this horrible depression for weeks at a time. and john adams did this throughout his life. he would have these frenzy activities in which you would achieve wonderful things by persuading people to vote for independence in 1776. but then, the letdown would be horrible. and then he would start to feel sorry for himself and when he was depressed to be envious of washington, franklin, and all these other problems would swell up. and so he was very fortunate that he found a woman who could calm him down and get him out of these depressions. and her name, as you know, was
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abigail adams. >> host: an amazing woman. she herself was heartbroken as he would go off and spend months, even years away from her. >> guest: he spent almost ten years in europe, staggering. and this is where you say the serious side. i showed up for a while we would say the marriage was about to collapse. >> host: in the late 1770's, yes. >> guest: abaco raised three children, three children and she was incredibly lonely. and there he was over in europe and wind and dined by the crown heads and so forth. she wrote these violently angry letters to him and john wrote angry letters right back to her. andrew was really pretty wild for at least a year. >> host: well, yeah. he would write all of the others were giving laurels.
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george washington do we help to promote -- so he gets the laurels and goes off and fight the war. he's the famous george washington. same with franklin and adams is being, he thinks, ignored. >> guest: i have an amusing explanation that comes in later in the book. but i think it might be worth saying now. john was a potbellied little guy, but 57 and he just didn't look very prepossessing. and here he was against these two tall virginians, washington 60 tall and jefferson 62 when he dispelled, i can't compete. >> host: and he didn't compete. as a probably manic to present the description is such. >> guest: he was such an ardent patriot at the same time. but he paid such a price for it.
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do we want to talk about that, too? >> host: between the two of them, that's the kind of intrigue that i found. he called her porsche, which is a very 18th century porsche from the merchant of venice at the glittering names for each other during that time as they would write these letters. he absolutely adored her. >> guest: he really did. >> host: absolutely adored her. either you come to me or i have to go to you. just go that is a letter he wrote when he was vice president. >> host: and yet, he could go to these depressions and big order. he had a heartbreaking time of children, dying, all sorts of things like that. >> guest: two of his son, not many people know that two of his younger son, charles and thomas, they both became alcoholics. they couldn't deal -- it was in the family genes i'm afraid.
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on abigail's side of the marriage as a matter of fact. but it was also this feeling that they can compete with their father's pain and really beat down on them. and charles died in a crummy little room in new york as john was in his last year as president. it was so heartbreaking. and then thomas. deal that he too was an alcoholic and would come home and live. >> host: there are other famous americans, famous families and often over the years of often children just can't compete with the famous mothers and fathers. >> guest: i studied the presidential families to some extent. he was out of with roosevelt for instance. i know franklin d. roosevelt junior quite well and be a terrible time with that name. you know, he was supposedly supposed to be the actual would say, are you a code of your father? he wasn't.
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he was trying to be his own person, you know, and it was a very difficult life. >> host: and then not face it is similar that franklin roosevelt and eleanor roosevelt there were extraordinary and i think you see this clearly. and abigail adams was very hard and her children. she would write very strong letters to her husband thomas wasn't doing the things that she was pretty much accusing him of because she assumed he was. >> guest: she assumed he was being god and he was working his head off trying to do as well as the older brother, john quincy, who was a genius. so there was a lot of fascinating a play back and forth. >> host: tell the story to the audience. we've all heard the letter where he wrote -- were abigail writes in the discussion. but the reply -- >> guest: she wanted him to remember the ladies.
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but instead, of a sensible answer, john was overworked, you know, and he was day and night struggling to get the country to declare independence of the roback is really snotty reply. he basically laughed in her face and said, we can do that because will be completely subject to the tierney of the petticoat. >> host: and depend on it. we are not going to give in to the ladies. we're subject to the petticoat. well, hamilton is a different kind of a character, one that is kind of realized in this 21st century of political people who were very powerful end up having affairs and all that. and he actually goes and he admits his affair to the world really. and that's the kind of unusual thing to happen in the end of
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the 18th century. >> guest: it was unique. it really was. >> host: what effect do you think that on the president the order? >> guest: what he was trying to do was defend his fame. himmel ten was born a, totally illegitimate. his mother kicked his father out of bed when he was about eight years old and then she slept with half the people on the island. and so, yet a very rough upbringing, you know, but this opportunity to achieve fame to him that so much -- and he did achieve fame as the creator of the nation's financial system, you know, the stock market and the federal reserve system. he originally created the bank of the united states, which was a forerunner. he had achieved his fame, but his enemies, led by thomas jefferson broke the story of adultery. but they claim that he was also in business with the woman's
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husband and he was flipping him tips on the stock market and so hamilton in order to prove that he was still a man of integrity as a financier and a secretary of treasury, he told the whole story of his adultery down to every letter. it was 95 pages long this letter was. and people just laughed. it looked like he was totally finished. but -- i can't say -- you've read the book probably. wait until the people who haven't come across this. it's an amazing surprise and this is one, as i said, the book is full of surprises. this was an enormous surprise to me. as hamilton is arriving in his public shame, in "new york times" is silver service from washington with a letter saying that i just want you to let you
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know that my regard for you remains unchanged area and he was basically saying i still think you're a preacher at and a man of integrity. >> host: they had a falling out, too. >> guest: in the course of their relationship, you know, because hamilton get along any better with others than he did with wives or women in general, you know, and so, they had a rather rocky relationship. but washington was the man who could handle him i guess you could say, could get the best out of him and he did. the things that hamilton achieved absolutely are amazing. he's the man who created the country we are today, this industrial superpower. >> host: it's quite amazing, yeah. and jefferson, of course, is another heartbreaker. >> guest: gas. >> host: all of the elements and the difficulties of
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childbearing i'll come home to you when you read about thomas jefferson and his frail wife and one of his daughters was also very frail and ended up the same way. with all the children, that he had with mark that he ends up with one. there were white, six or something. they all died -- >> guest: four of them died when they were very john. and then, the daughter maria, the second daughter died giving birth and so he really didn't have a tremendous amount of heartbreak, but it didn't have anything to do with his revolutionary war activities or anything. but your heart went out to the man. >> host: any sense, it might affect some of the things he was doing as a founding father. he was limited by his wife's health of certain times he could only accept certain roles in government, but he -- >> guest: he didn't know it, but he was about to be asked to
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read the declaration of independence and he hadn't heard from mark that was back in virginia. and he became frantic here he was writing letters saying time she ill? please tell me, i will come home immediately. young was backed up everything and headed home to virginia only a few days before john adams came to him and said, we want you to write this declaration, which was his rendezvous with death me. so it shows how important she was to him in his life. and of course, that's another reason why he was so totally destroyed when she died in 1782. there was definite fear he was going to commit suicide. he fainted when she died and then walked up and down the room where she died in the library in monticello for three weeks he didn't sleep him he just kept walking and then would fall down and pass out. it was a nightmare. and when you see the tremendous emotion, you see that's what he promised her he would never
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marry again. she asked him to on her deathbed. and he promised he would never marry again. >> host: you have an interesting take on that. it came across to me, as i read it, that she had herself had a stepmother and didn't want her children to have a stepmother. >> guest: she was rather unhappy with her stepmother. >> host: exactly, but she asked him not to marry again and tomas is a little bit more of a -- >> guest: she asked him not to marry until her children grew up which have been another ten years. but instead, she asked him never to marry again. and i see this as a very angry woman. she did feel that he had sacrificed her and her happiness to politics in the revolution. >> host: she had to escape her monticello with their children children -- >> guest: british calvary came up the road and she had some
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terrifying experiences, she really did. and i think, you know, this is where speculation and intuition, i think to some extent she blamed it on him. i don't think she screamed out in or anything like that, but there was something boiling inside of her during these years. >> host: it had to be. i mean, the whole notion of ringing up children in the 18th century, abigail adams had to bear at least one of her children alone. one dead and she was home alone. >> guest: i think she had a midwife. >> guest: but she was alone. martha jefferson's children, one after the other were larger and larger and i think that might've been -- she might've been even diabetic here to >> guest: yes, i've discussed this with some doctors and i
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mention that some family traditions, nothing written down. each child was bigger and bigger. as one doctor was an expert on such matters soulmate, that's a very strong sign of diabetes. and they didn't even know diabetes existed in those days. >> host: so your life is at risk just getting married and having children. >> guest: with the child she became more and more ill and the sixth child was supposedly 16 pounds. but she never recovered from that. >> host: that was the end. esquivel is a very sad story. >> host: at the same time, dolly madison who never had any children that james madison, maybe we can on most -- her whole life was that of the hostess with the most is. she was this fabulous early perl hostess carrot or who did so much for -- >> guest: you can't help but love dolly. at the end of the book she comes and cast a glow of feminine
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achievement, if i may call this over the whole book. she really does. she created the role of the first lady. martha washington was very important, jefferson and abigail, but nobody called them the first lady. but she was such a crucial player in madison's life that it was almost normal to call her the first lady. and to give you another example on that, when he was running for president in 18 away, people were putting out the worst most vicious stories and he was supposedly ranting dahlia to congressman so that they would vote for ten. so she had the most marvelous ability to deal with the slanderous stories. i mean, if abigail adams heard a story like this she would become desert berserk. all he would just smile and say they're only trying to move my sensibility. and she just went right on.
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>> host: she took friends to listen to them carry on about her husband and she'd say it was this great theater or something. >> guest: john randolph ranted against madison in the house of representatives issued by groups of women and they would sit in the gallery and watch her and then they would leave and dolly would say, it was as good as a show. and that reduced randolph politically speaking to about that tall. and then, the one story about the most is when he won the presidency the first time, the losing candidate was from south carolina, charles coe's worth hinchey. he said i would have won if i was campaigning against mr. madison alone. but against mr. and mrs. madison, i never had a chance. >> host: it sold true. the most wonderful story about her, which we know a little bit about, is how she rescued the
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painting of george washington, the gilbert stuart actually the lansdowne, the big portrait of george washington that hangs in the east room today. and she rescued that during mr. madison bore of the war of 1812, along with as he told her rescue his public papers, a set of china, a set of silver -- >> guest: with the british white marching towards the white house. >> host: she is not leaving the white house. she ordered the staff to make her dinner. >> guest: the whole american army ran away, but dolly said if i can and i would put each one in the windows of the south and fight till the end. >> host: that is a little more than a hostess, is an aquatic >> guest: she was an extraordinary woman in that respect. she was able to keep her head in situations that most people, not just a woman, but a man would get completely upset about to lose all contact with reality. but not her.
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and also, she really played such an important role in madison's life in a disaster like this. there was talk after the british for the white house and the capitol and all the other measured buildings. i was serious talk of assassinating madison and stringing him up and he was a rather heated president. but when dolly went down the street, people saw her and they cheered. >> host: and she really rescued and. he was a rather bland person. >> guest: he was a little man who wore black all the time. he added very soft voice and he was very charming and private with close friends. but with the public he became like a recluse, except when he went to a dinner party that dolly was giving and then she was the presiding genius of the table and madison to would open up and he could tell very funny stories. quite a few of them off-color, i might add. >> host: and she is also responsible as you point out,
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responsible for saving washington d.c. of the capital. they might've been right here in philadelphia. >> guest: this would be the capital that wasn't for dolly. you may hold that against her. but after they burn fat in washington, the congress voted three to one to move back to philadelphia. and dolly literally created the city, don't you agree? >> host: she really did make it come alive with her parties and are marvelous ability to just charm everyone, diplomat and newcomers and congressman. and so, she went to see madison said, this is not going to happen. and so dolly started giving dinner parties. at a house called the octagon house, which is still standing in washington. it's worth going to take a look at. >> host: you can take a look at it. >> guest: so what happens? after three months of dollars
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parties congress vote to stay in washington. >> host: so they rebuild. let me see if we can sort of have some fun here and talk about a little quiz for you. >> guest: all rights. i can't guarantee to get 100%. >> host: you get 100% in my book. who do you think of the five founders -- of the six founders, the women they were mostly involved with, who was the smartest of these ladies? >> guest: i think the smartest was abigail adams beyond all doubt. she was a true intellectual. she read very serious books and she could talk about ideas in a way that most of the other women simply weren't interested in. if it came to who was the smartest politician, you know, to add another word to that, dolly takes the prize and
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there's no competition. she was just a magnificent politician. >> host: so my question is who is best at increasing her husband sam? >> guest: i think dolly again has to take the prize because his fame would've gone down the tubes if it wasn't for her. he probably would have been impeached after the burning of washington. she was the one who held these critics at bay. she did the most. but again, abigail adams also had a lot to do with giving john the stability to achieve things. >> host: that would be the thing she he needed them most. madison was very bright, the constitution and all. but there is a perfect example of somebody who would be hiding in a corner, despite his great
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talent without support of his wife. so this is a really important, contextual aspect of madison's life. she would be nowhere. so we give her credit for saving the george washington, but there is, you know, 30 other things. >> guest: saving james madison, too. and it's very touching in the last years of their last two and a two month with them and she just loved the social life of washington. but she stayed there with them for the next what 25 years at least. and helped him edit his papers and they got to the point where he couldn't bear for her to be away from him for more than a half-hour at a time. his dependents and love for her was so intense. it was just very, very touching. but then i think we ought to tell the audience and so forth, dolly did get back to
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washington. she saw montpelier and went back to washington when he died and she was a sensational person. they had to every dinner party and couldn't wait to get her in the white house and talk to her because she knew everybody. she had tea with martha and george washington. this is about 50 years back. and so, she was the sensation of washington for three or four years and then her health started to fail. but when she died, the president declared it a national -- a day of national mourning. there wasn't a woman who achieved fame, who was? >> host: well, yes. and also, she analyzed the hamilton got together in a campaign to build the washington. >> guest: i am most forgot that. that's another contribution that dolly performed. the washington monument was stalled and they weren't raising any money for her and dolly took
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charge of the campaign and allies the oil is a bit hamilton came to washington to stay with one of her daughters, i think she only had one daughter alive at that time and she was 90 at that time. but she had devoted her life to making sure that hamilton was part of the major founding fathers and she collected all his papers and so forth. and i think she felt this deep gratitude to washington for the silver service and his public forgiveness of hamilton. and so, she pitched in with dolly and these two grand old ladies i should say, they presided at this rededication of the washington monument, which then took a few more years to finish. but it was their doing. i like that touch. it's sort of everything coming full circle. >> host: it does and it also shows she was a great hostess but also interested -- deeply interested in american history in the founding of washington
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founding of washington monument, all of that. >> guest: she appreciated all of that. she really did. >> host: rate the marriages. >> guest: rates of marriage as? that's a good one. i'd like to say that washington's marriage was probably the happiest of them all in the sense that it was serene most of the time. she was wonderful at keeping this man calm and contented and happy and he loves their dinner parties, all that sort of thing. as a bird he said, he didn't expect to have a happy marriage with washington. she was like a gift from heaven to him so i think he appreciated her more than the other founders, too. >> host: even more than madison? may be equal. guest though washington i don't think -- he felt that martha played a very central role in his life. i have to tell one more story at
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the end of his life and that is the letter he wrote to sally fairfax. don't you think that's worth telling? >> host: absolutely. >> guest: tells how martha plays a part and he found out after he left the white house that a relative of sally's was going back and she left in 1773. so you wanted to write her a letter. so he wrote. so washington wrote this letter saying all sorts of things that happen but it's much too complicated to get into. i just want to tell you one thing, the moments i spent with you with the happiest of my life. and then, in the same letter, he put in a long news a letter from martha. i just love that. >> host: also coming full circle. well, this has been fun. >> guest: i like to chat with you, barbara. >> host: i'd like to open it up for some questions.
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i'd like to entertain some of you would like to step up to the microphone and present. >> my question is, did any of the wide have a strong relationship between them? did they know each other and have friendships? >> guest: good question. yes, dolly madison and martha washington were quite a difference in ages, but they were very friendly and in fact there's a story which again is not truly documented which always drives historians crazy, but it's a probable story that she told dolly that she ought to marry what the man that dolly was calling the great madison. he was famous when he started to move dolly in the 70's. abigail adams was also very friendly with martha while she
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was vice president, the wife of the vice president and she has a marvelous come if anybody knows abigail looks like, she was thin as a rail. but she was charmed by martha and she went back to one of her sisters and then she said her figure was much better than mine. [laughter] so that was a very strong friendship there, too. and the other wives, deborah franklin and these people, neither jefferson wife, but eliza hamilton was a rather of a favorite when washington was president, they had dinner quite often at the executive mansion here in philadelphia and martha was very nice to her and washington was very fond of her. so there was, you know, some back-and-forth feelings between
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non. >> host: that's certainly the case with eliza hamilton and don madison with the washington monument. >> guest: yes, that shows another. >> host: are there any other questions? >> and the author of a book about the women of the valley forge called, following the drum. i just wanted to make a couple comments about the relationship between general washington and mrs. washington because the lafayette says that martha washington is not about the general. >> guest: she is what? >> she is mad. i know green comments that they are very happy and each other. >> guest: yes, i'm very familiar with this comment. >> and then finally, general "washington times" one of his letters to martha washington, your entire, george washington, which i think is extraordinary.
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anyone of us us would love to have a letter like that signed by our husband. your entire, george washington. >> guest: thank you. those are some very good points there. and again it shows how prominent these women were in these men's lives. >> host: yes? >> humbled was george washington when he married his wife? >> guest: she was 27. they are roughly the same age. there was a slight difference. and so, he was quite a spectacular looking fellow. we were saying that maybe was a marriage of convenience and so forth at that time. but for a long time people thought it was already above affair because to the end of her life, she saved the white gloves that washington had warned to their wedding.
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>> first of all, i'd like to commend you on yet another very readable and enjoyable book. thank you. >> guest: thank you. >> i think he did a good job in talking about william franklin and his relationship to benjamin. >> guest: we didn't have time to get into that. >> i didn't realize the part that his wife's influence played upon him and remaining loyal. did you comment on that? >> guest: yes, this is a woman we haven't mentioned yet. but william franklin was married to a british woman and she was very dependent and sweet women and he really did love her and they had no children. and she persuaded him more than any other thing to remain loyal to the king. and this really broke franklin's heart. he loved this young man so much and he saw him as possibly becoming a man's second only to
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george washington in the revolution and he could've been. he was a terrific speaker. he had presents and he was the royal governor of new jersey for 15 years before the revolution. yet it reputation. if he resigned instead i am joining and a man of 1776, he would've rocketed to the top of the whole heap i think. that he didn't. he just remained -- he let his wife persuaded him to remain more than a king. i sanus book, this icier is the only woman in franklin's whole life dedicated. he couldn't forgive her for taking his son away from him like that. and so, when he went to france, william was arrested not long after the other patriots at new jersey. before that he was arrested by the patriots at new jersey. and he was thrown in jail in
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connecticut. and his wife had to retreat to new york. and about a year later, she died in a friendless and alone, a quote from the book. it was a sad and tragic thing. nobody in the franklin family tried to help her. i have -- it's a chapter not in this book that another one called revolution is where it starts and this was one of the examples of how the revolution broke franklin's heart and william franklin's heart when he died. ..
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to the life in the jefferson family i think that maria was
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the identical kalona were you might say exactly like her mother. and we know little about martha washington. but we do know a lot about maria and she was temperamental and had to have her own way all the time and jefferson loved it. he left to give her her own way and maria got a letter from abigail who was ambassador of london and they called maria pauley sometimes. she opened the letter and jefferson -- of course it was abigail, this woman she had grown to love and her face white and as she read the words and then read it again and you could see she was adoring the whole thing, the femininity of it all. he liked to eminem when,
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jefferson did. >> host: are there other questions? >> in your book he mention an officer fleming, an older man teaching alexander hamilton all the ways of being successful in the military so i am wondering if you -- your dna were examined how would that compare with that of fleming? [laughter] >> guest: i wish i was related but i'm not. i'm sorry to say i may be getting confused at the end but what role did you say he played in hamilton's life? >> in your book you mentioned this officer by the name of fleming in new york taught young alexander hamilton the ways to be successful in the militia.
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>> yes, he was an officer in the army, right. i remember him now, yes. he is only on one page. he is no relation of mine but then jefferson's closest friend in virginia he went to college of william and mary, but unfortunately flemings came over on a boat from ireland in 1880 so i can't claim either one of them. [laughter] >> host: some others? well we would like to thank you all especially tom forgiving wonderful reading the stories much.e can't forget.very [applause] in the book carjacked authors
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catherine anne and anne lutz are due gasoline are not the onl problems presented by america's love of cars. ms. anne lutz speaks at the library in new haven, connecticut. [applause] >> thank you. hello. i would like to thank and elm street books and the library for inviting me to speak tonight and thank you for coming to listen. my name is anne lutz fernandez and i wanted to share our decision to write the book of where that came from and it all happened a few miles from here at my home in norwalk over thanksgiving weekend about four years ago. my sister and i were there. our family had gathered and from various points driven of course to norwalk and my driveway was
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filled with cars and spent a beautiful weekend celebration in but invariably as has happened in the prior few years the conversation turned to the loss of our cousin christi in a car crash and shortly after we lost christi i lost a good friend in a highway crash and the two losses had a profound affect on their lives and we started chewing on the contradictions that the car presents particularly the contradiction between the intense pleasure of the car brings to us and the profound loss and tragedy it also can bring. and on a daily basis the contradiction between the convenience the car brings and the frustrations it also brings so broadly speaking we wanted to explore the impact this single object, this powerful piece of technology has on our lives and
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we thought we could bring to bear our experiences. my sister, katherine lutz is a professor of anthropology and brings an approach and i am now a teacher and writer but spent many years as a banker and as a marketer of consumer products and we thought if we would tackle this together we could bring in sight that hadn't been brought to the first subject and we embark on research which took us across therom exurban housing developments that were being carved out of the rural countryside and tennessee to detroit to visit gm and good it's proving grounds in milford. we traveled to the used car lots in the inner cities. we traveled to the auto shows that although museums and spoke to a variety of people with expertise around the car and around the ancillary services provided and those who work to mitigate against the negative effects of the car but mostly we
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talked to ordinary people. the owners, the buyers, the drivers of the 244 million cars that pry the where roadways and of course the research started earlier. as all the powers to, with the family car and this is the lutz family and it's not the blog lutz family. we've been asked to times whether we are related to the detroit legend the outspoken bob lutz who worked at the auto three and the answer is no. if it was yes i suppose we already would have been cut out of the will. this is the george lutz family and this is a family that like many grew up in the suburbs and grew up around cars, and we both my sister and i had tremendous
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positive memories surrounding the vehicles we grew up in, trips to grand blanc, trips to the beach. most of our memories were positive and as we started talking to americans we came to realize how powerful nostalgist is in reenforcing intensely positive ideas around the automobile. at the museums they understand this and we went to if you and out when we met a gentleman named dave who was there for his saturday morning drive in his beloved ford mustang and he was wearing a watkins glen jacket over his car print shirt and we asked, we said when did you become interested in cars and he said when i opened my eyes and realized i was born. [laughter] and in many ways that is true for all of us and my sister the anthropologist likes to put it that to humans culture is like water is to fish because it surrounds us and. it's often quite invisible even
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though we are in it and the ideology that supports our culture is something that is largely invisible and that we started to explore fairly or early in our research. the images that bombard us daily from the media are different than those family snapshots. not quite so comforting but much more exciting, much more glamorous this poster from 2008's hyrum and starring robert downey jr. provides the kind of excitement we've come to expect not just from car advertising, again, but much of the entertainment we indulge in that this car centric and american car ideology like the messages that come to us in many hollywood films is supported by a series of core american values. individualism and freedom are two of the keys but also family,
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the very american dream. the auto makers have tapped into the core american values and their advertising and a year in and year out we are exposed to tens of billions of messages just in the advertising let alone marketing, promotion, publicity because we are exposed in this year in and year out from the moment we open our eyes and realize we are born become intensely associate these ideas that we already have about what the car can provide and we associate that as values even more intensely. freedom is one of the key values the cards into and the iconic image of the lone car traveling wildly and free down the empty road with, no other cars in sight is an excellent image of freedom that we have invited. in the daily conversations we tend to talk more modestly about
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the convenience the car provides but over and over when we talk to people about the car one of the things they said was i liked the idea i can get into this vehicle any time i want, wherever i want and go wherever i want. it makes me free. and we truly do believe that the car makes us free. it can provide the breeding and ventures in the wilderness as car advertising so often represents a. if you think of the dozens of model names, the escape, the exporter, the expedition, quest, odyssey we are being sent on a grand adventure that is often to the supermarket. [laughter] because the breathtaking view of we tend to see is this one of the highway out your windshield much more likely to see the brake lights of cars stopping
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and stopping you because of the values the car taps into. it subverts those very same values. we are hardly free when you think that we spend 18 and a half hours on average a week in our vehicles as drivers or passengers. and if you calculate that as part of our waking lives that's nearly two months of every year that we are sitting in our cars. that's the average. as a nation in terms of mileage, for tralee models are traveled a year -- 4 trillion miles are troubled. but with the 24 million cars on the road we are rarely alone even though we are often a lone driving and there are a few spots on the landscape that are without roads even the national
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parks are crisscrossed with roads and play host to traffic jams in the summer. trapped in the cars we are finding ourselves to be less free than we wish to be. and traffic is getting worse and it's getting worse in the big cities, the small cities, the in between cities and we are noticing it and it is starting to make us not like driving quite so much as we once did. in fact one of the executives we spoke to said americans really like the idea of driving better than driving itself. and the real driving that we do when we set aside our idea is actually quite frustrating and lack of control we feel is the antithesis of the freedom that we hope the car will provide us. so, why are we doing all of this writing? suburban sprawl is a big part of it. obviously as the corporations moved out and took their jobs out to the suburbs and some of us decided to get further away and go to the exurbs for a
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bigger house, larger yard, we found ourselves driving more to get to work and a lot of people we spoke to felch kind helpless about this and said what choice do i have? i have to get to work. but quite a bit of that is our choice. so if we are choosing where to live and often our choice is based on perceived value of housing in relation to our jobs we are creating a verdone links and commute. and many of the trips we are taking are not commuting trips. when we look at where is all this traffic coming from well, it's coming from increased trips to school, to run errands, to shop and in fact the busiest abominations' roadway is no longer where you would expect, 5 p.m. on friday, 7 a.m. on monday, but 1 p.m. on saturday.
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so we are choosing a certain extent to trap ourselves and to drive their alone. we avoid carpooling and avoid public transit because as one retired auto executive said we are cowboys and we'd like to get on our horse and go where we want to go and cowal please don't take the boss. [laughter] the individualist streak that says we prefer the individualism and the car to the collective is of public transit also translates into another form of individualism that the auto makers tapped into which is our sense of self identity and self expression. they've convinced us that the car can say something about who we are and a significant minority of americans to believe that their car communicates something about who they are or if they had just the right car, the one that really is them, that really is them they would be in that and express their
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true identity. this notion the car can say something about us isn't new but the upsurge in car customizing has happened the last few years is evidence that it is growing and we are increasingly using cars as our social skin as terence termer has put it. individualism sells so well that numerous automakers sell their models display, the honda element, the scion, there are so many rebels in the class out there they all need a different rebellious and a vigil. the honda of ridgeline is a pickup truck for the rebel. the campaign urged the buyers a couple of years ago to separate from the herd and by the honda ridgeline. but even this scion had, the
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tagline of which is united by individuality points out the irony in trying to express yourself through a mass marketed vehicle. out of these 100 or so vehicles which i suppose are supposed to look different and there are some different colors and slightly different style in, actually the kind of look alike. they all have four wheels and a windshield and a trunk or hatchback and they all come all of these i believe drive by a gas powered engine and one of the things a meson marketing manager said is when that company introduced their all -- ultima they sold 100,000 this was a big one. those owners told nissan this
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car was built just for me sitting convince 100,000 people in the first year that they were buying the right car for their individualistic self. still most of us would have a hard time picking out a ultima out of a lineup because a car is a car is a car and it seems innocent enough to express yourself through your car but what it's done the last few years is truly force us into conformity of overspending on our cars. we are spending more to get the newest and the best in order to distinguish ourselves. we are loading on pricing options and accessories to distinguish ourselves and even environmentally minded people who want to express their socially conscious identity and now we are talking about me have been convinced to buy a new car they didn't need because you had to by the hybrid, didn't you? yes.
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even though most of the carbon footprint or at least one-third of the carvin footprint most will be produced if you don't own a car that long is in the production of that vehicle. so a few of us are immune from this. this overspending has led to the average price of an american car, not made in america but sold to most americans, $26,000, which is about 25% higher inflation control dollars than it was a few decades ago when i got my license. this stunning car parked in front of this beautiful home is emblematic of how central the car or i should say cars because many of us have multiple vehicles have become to the american dream. and americans do believe still that the car can drive us toward opportunity and help show it off when we get there.
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we were mystified initially by how when you buy a new car people tend to almost involuntarily say to you congratulations. in the first we couldn't quite figure out why that was worthy of congratulations. but once upon a time, it was. you earned, you saved, you bought a car, and was a representative of an achievement and in those days, gm work to set the stage for us and first about the chevy and then you move to the corporate and social ladder and got the buick and if you got the full american dream, the cadillac. but the american car buyer like the american homeowner over the past decade has overextended themselves. and this has happened for a variety of reasons some of which are a result of the house in bubble because a lot of people drew on home-equity to buy
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increasingly expensive cars. buying on credit, not understanding the true costs of ownership because we rarely total of the depreciation, the repairs, maintenance, the insurance, the gasoline on a monthly basis and see how much it is truly costing us on average $14,000 a year to zero hour two cars and being pushed by dealers and financing sources to buy based on low monthly payments so that we become payment shoppers has led us to overspend on our vehicles and get ourselves into financial trouble. congratulations on your debt would now be more appropriate response if somebody tells you to buy a new car, try that on. cars consume about one-fifth of our household budget now and not far behind housing it's our second biggest household expense but we rarely see it that way because it is divided and all of it is in pieces. for the poor we often focus on
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carless ms. as a problem but car ownership is a big problem for the working poor who are working hard just to keep themselves in their car to get to work to get the paycheck to buy the car or to continue to own a car. so car ownership is impoverishing many families. that one-fifth is average so if you are, were down on the income scale, door car a portion of your budget is much bigger. and the poor are paying more for cars not just because they are -- their income is smaller but because they are being charged more. they are paying more for vehicles because they are subject to higher rates of dealer fraud, higher loan rates and often where they live because of their great drivers and they tend to own older cars that cost more to maintain. sadly there's plenty about fitz eager to take a vantage of folks
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who are struggling to stay in their car and rent a tiger is one of these that will rent to you if you for example need a new set of tires to pass an inspection and you can't afford the $450, say for a set of tires of wal-mart, the cheapest set you can get, you can't afford that month but you have to pass your inspection you can sign a nice contract and by the end of the year you will have paid perhaps over $2,000 for the set of tires. family values come back to the happy talk. family values or another american ideals of the auto makers tapped into often with visions of family fun. also a surprising few number of trips are to actually have fun, commuting, shopping, yes. eckert and running, schools, yes. less than three per cent of
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miles driven are on vacation dustin 1% of trips taken are on vacation suggesting perhaps this image should be to rent a car for those occasions rather than being sold and we are lying based on these needs. although makers messages around safety also tapped into our intense desire to be good parents, to be good heads of family and parents meticulously pick out the best car seat. they talk safety. they often even body based on safety data if we can afford to buy new cars for our teams because we think they will be safer in them when we were at the gm proving ground we were invited to test drive a car being introduced a crossover call negative of the traverse and we were along with a journalist and the test drive
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involved a series of exercises and the traverse such as driving with a giant motorboat attached to the back as you drive with its motor broke on the back to you feel in control we were asked. as you sit around these cones a little too fast do you feel in control? when you speak up really fast and a break to kick in the electronic stability control do you feel in control? the question as asked over and over and we realized we are actually being asked do you feel safe and cars are marketed with the illusion of safety as much as they are marketed with any real safety benefits tangibly at our disposal. it's important to realize the car is no friend to the family on a lot of levels and roughly half of air pollution being responsible coming from automobiles is a big part of
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that so we can predict as much rates and long disease, cancer, heart disease, stroke, many cases to the car. obviously if we think about it we are sitting in a car for 18 and a half hours a week it is a major contributor to our obesity crisis and the reality is there is nothing more dangerous to children in cars. the number one killer of americans age one to 34. and these are the images we rarely see some of the roughly 45,000 fatalities a year, the roughly 2.5 million injuries a year which like in the war we tend to focus on the tildes and to ignore the injured but there is a hit in community each year, year in and year out to .5 million are injured. some of them in ways they recover from a couple of days others with a life long debilitating injury. a the the numbers remained
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fairly steady year after year despite safety improvements in the roads and despite safety equipment added to cars. we can be thankful for the activists who've pushed for each innovation the car companies have tended to resist in terms of adding safety equipment to the cars from seat belts to air bags to electronics to with a cudgel to interlock breaks. all of these have made cars seaver but because we are driving more miles we are putting ourselves at risk and up until last year those numbers have been fairly steady. last year we saw the first dip in fatalities and there was due to the fact americans were driving less. it's a hopeful sign because it means we can drop their age but it also means safe driving means less driving. the final value level to talk about tonight is progress. americans believe in technology
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as the salvation that is going to give hope that card technology itself will solve many of the problems of the car so we expect and hope that card engineers will make cars safer and that road engineers will make rhodes seaver. we hope and expect alternative fuels will soon eliminate the need for fossil fuels and be driving spectacularly streamlined vehicles that will hover above the road or maybe something a little less glamorous but still and even if we can convert the fleet today if the two injured 44 million vehicles the were on the road today suddenly could be fueled from your garden hose with water many of the problems we've talked about tonight would remain. the obesity problem would remain. the ove